Sunday, May 26, 2013


I've been on a reading frenzy. Somehow, May became Reading Month with three books that I put on hold at the local library coming through at the same time, plus the 2 books I bought at Costco. Fortunately, I was ready for a break in writing but not in books. 

Here are my May Five:

For more than three hundred years, Bluff House has sat above Whiskey Beach, guarding its shore—and its secrets. But to Eli Landon, it’s home…

A Boston lawyer, Eli has weathered an intense year of public scrutiny and police investigations after being accused of—but never arrested for—the murder of his soon-to-be-ex wife.

He finds sanctuary at Bluff House, even though his beloved grandmother is in Boston recuperating from a nasty fall. Abra Walsh is always there, though. Whiskey Beach’s resident housekeeper, yoga instructor, jewelry maker, and massage therapist, Abra is a woman of many talents—including helping Eli take control of his life and clear his name. But as they become entangled in each other, they find themselves caught in a net that stretches back for centuries—one that has ensnared a man intent on reaping the rewards of destroying Eli Landon once and for all…

My opinion: If you're a fan of Nora Roberts you will read it and love it just because its a Roberts. If you haven't ever read Roberts then this is not the book to start with. 

There is nothing wrong with anxiety.
Although we cannot control God's time, it is part of the human condition to want to receive the thing we are waiting for as quickly as possible.
Or to drive away whatever is causing our fear....
Anxiety was born in the very same moment as mankind. And since we will never be able to master it, we will have to learn to live with it-just as we have learned to live with storms.

My opinion: A book of questions and non-answers as philosophy tends to be. The book could have been written and handled a bit more interestingly. As it is, it was a bit of a drag to read. Paulo Coelho could have done much better.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

My opinion: A crafty, determined, adorably nasty piece of work that sheds (I truly think real, maybe exaggerated but defiantly real) real light on this delicious, slasher-esque, metamorphosing thing called marriage (or is it love that I'm feeling?) Nick and Amy Dunne are the protagonists, the anti-hero and heroine, the flawed hero and bitch-wife, whom I found just the right shade of psycho. I hated them, loved them, hated them, loved them, hated them, loved them...they kept me on my death-seat, clutching the book between my hands until until...until the next amazingly captivating paper couple came along to distract me. Its a book I will read again in this lifetime.

Qhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has finally found an identity as one of the most brutal fighters in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems to be within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another....

Blay, after years of unrequited love, has moved on from his feelings for Qhuinn. And it’s about time: The male has found his perfect match in a Chosen female, and they are going to have a young—just as Qhuinn has always wanted for himself. It’s hard to see the new couple together, but building your life around a pipe dream is just a heartbreak waiting to happen. As he’s learned firsthand.

Fate seems to have taken these vampire soldiers in different directions... but as the battle over the race’s throne intensifies, and new players on the scene in Caldwell create mortal danger for the Brotherhood, Qhuinn finally learns the true definition of courage, and two hearts who are meant to be together... finally become one.

My opinion: Love J.R. Ward's irreverent prose. Love the BDBs. Loved this one especially because love really doesn't depend on color, texture, size or rank. It just is and this book is a celebration of that.
WARNING: The BDB's are not for the fainthearted. 

Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan’s mission is to bring closure to the families whose loved ones have vanished.  She knows their anguish—her own beloved daughter, Bonnie, was taken from her when Bonnie was just seven years old.  It is only recently that this mystery was resolved and Eve could begin her journey to peace.  Now, Jim Doane wants the same kind of answers that Eve always longed for.  His twenty-five-year old son may or may not be dead and he has only burned skull fragments as possible evidence.  But he cannot go to the police for answers without risking his own secrets and dark past, so instead he chooses a bold step to find the truth—a truth that takes Eve down a twisted path of madness and evil and into the darkest heart of her own history.  Doane needs Eve Duncan’s skills and he’ll do anything to get them. 
Even if it means taking Eve. 

My Opinion: This is another author/protagonist/series that I've followed for more than a decade. I tend to like reading about well-crafted, well-appreciated characters over and over again. 
Slow to begin with, this book picks up pace after its halfway mark. I found there to be a lot of repetition in dialogue (his point, her point, their point, the dog's point of view on the same issue got tedious). The book clearly is a set-up for the coming 2 in the trilogy. Iris Johansen does suspense well, this one got there eventually and I will read the coming books.

So People, any excellent books you've read recently and recommend?

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